Monday, March 26, 2012

Gossip (Beth Gutcheon)

I must admit, when I first picked up Gossip, I had a hard time understanding where Beth Gutcheon was going with it. She seemed to be all over the map, introducing characters left and right, none of which were, at the start, very well developed. I kept putting it down and picking it up again. Then, early one Sunday afternoon, I started reading again, kept reading, and finished Sunday night before bed. The plot and characters finally came together in a very shocking and devastating ending.

Gossip is narrated by Lovie French, a high-end clothing-store owner in Manhattan. We learn Lovie’s back story, including her time in high school with her friends, Dinah and Avis. Avis is a buttoned-up, reserved art dealer, while Dinah is a free-for-all newspaper columnist. The story weaves around these three characters as they grow up, marry, and have children. Once all of the characters are introduced, Gossip really picks up, and they seamlessly interact with each other. Avis, Dinah, and Lovie are not spring chickens. The fact that Gutcheon chose to revolve her story around them proves that this age group can be more interesting than the twentysomething “chick lit” genre.

While talking behind another’s back does happen a lot in Gossip, I was surprised that Gutcheon chose this as her title. It seemed that there were no repercussions when Lovie heard things about her friends through the grapevine. Don’t think that Lovie is innocent in all this either, as she’s holding a big secret as well. Even through the gossip, there is an underlying sense of calm. But once things start happening, the novel comes to its dramatic ending in a big way.

Don’t let the slow start of Gossip keep you from plowing through this multi-generational novel. The ending is your reward.


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